Distinctive Features Therapy focuses on elements of phonemes that are lacking in a child’s repertoire (e.g., frication, nasality, voicing, and place of articulation) and is used for children who primarily substitute one sound for another. This approach uses tasks that compare the phonetic elements/features of the target sound with those of its substitution or some other sound contrast.
Oral-Motor Therapy is based on the rationale that deficient oral-motor control or strength may be causing poor articulation and that it is necessary to teach control of the articulators for correct production of speech sounds. Goals of an oral-motor approach include increasing the child’s awareness of the oral mechanism and its parts, normalizing oral-tactile sensitivity, inhibiting abnormal and facilitating normal oral movement patterns, and increasing differentiation of oral movements in order to achieve successful speech sound production.
Myofunctional Therapy (Tongue Thrust Therapy) is a therapeutic regimen which has been developed to correct improper muscle and swallowing habit patterns. Children with myofunctional deficits frequently have coexisting articulation errors, drool, have a flaccid facial appearance, and breathe with their mouth open. Children may also exhibit noxious habits such as nail biting and/or finger/thumb sucking, which will be addressed as part of our therapy regimen. Our myofunctional therapy team includes the parent and the child’s dentist or orthodontist. Our therapy protocol consists of a diagnostic evaluation, specific myofunctional exercise products provided to the child for home carryover, as well as motivational charts and checklists. The goals of myofunctional therapy are to facilitate improved oral function in order to eliminate tongue thrust, to prevent functional increase in open bite or overjet, to assure stability of correct occlusion, to correct the coexisting articulation errors and to eliminate any noxious habits.